That adds time onto a project, and more importantly it can place the clients ownership of the domain at risk. Domains have to be renewed or pre-leased every year. That means if that developer who you hired two years ago decides to go on a drinking bender, poof the domain is gone. You might be able to get it back, but it sure won’t be $10.29. Many registrars have notoriously poor customer service, and since you aren’t their paying customer they have no obligation to overly help you.
So what is the small business owner supposed to do? Get control of it.
If you are ordering your domain name for the first time, order it yourself. Go to an accredited ICANN reseller such as Namecheap. I personally have used namecheap for about a decade now. I love them, the support is great, the pricing is great.
If someone else has the domain, it’s more complicated. You will probably need to create an account at where they registered it, and ask them to “push” it to you. There will be a few steps to this of course, but as long as the other party is cooperating you should be able to complete it.
Once you have it under your control there, you can head back over to namecheap and pay to have it transferred there.